In a surprising statement received early Friday evening, chef Randy Rucker announced that Bramble is closed, effective immediately. It’s unexpected news in part because the restaurant was slated to participate in Houston Restaurant Weeks, which starts on August 1. (Bramble was, in fact, one of our top picks for places to visit during Houston Restaurant Weeks.)
Rucker's statement strongly indicates that sales were not what they needed to be for the restaurant to remain open "to the public," although it sounds as if the space will still be available for private events. The statement reads:
After much consideration and with heavy hearts we have decided to close Restaurant Bramble to the public as of July 29, 2016. The past year has proven to be very stressful on small businesses with it being an election year and the downfall in our economy. This decision comes after many discussions over our infrastructure, concept and we have chosen to take a step back a reevaluate. Bramble will remain available for special functions and private events through the upcoming months (more information on that soon). We are extremely thankful and want to thank all our staff members, Houstonians and neighborhood for supporting us in our effort to bring our style of food and culture to the area.
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Rucker responded via email to our questions on the unexpected closing and what’s next for him, saying, "We did the best we could with what we had. I have plans for sure but need the dust to settle and time to tie up loose ends before anything is announced.”
Bramble was the highly anticipated follow-up to Rucker’s restaurant Bootsie’s in Tomball, a critically acclaimed but short-lived endeavor that also lasted less than two years. Bramble opened in July 2015, just over a year ago. While the food there never mimicked the wildly imaginative experimentation that earned Rucker great acclaim at Bootsie's, the cuisine was honest and often beautifully plated to showcase the locally sourced ingredients. Local sourcing was a great point of pride for Rucker.
Now, there's no telling what's next for the eclectic chef and his staff.